Category Archives: South Carolina

South Carolina Part II: Charleston

We stayed at James Island County Park near Charleston for about 10 days during the end of February and beginning of March. This campground was the nicest county park we have stayed in since our trip began. The camping section was only a small part of the massive green space. There were miles of walking trails, a small lake for kayaking and paddle boating, an enormous dog park, a water park that was still closed for winter, a fishing pier, disc golf, a climbing wall, picnic areas, playgrounds and much more. Another great thing about camping here was that we were only about 15 minutes from downtown Charleston and about 20 minutes from Folly Beach.

Since I’m so far behind on our blog, this post is going to be picture-book style. The short report is that we had a great time here and I would come back in a heart beat for another visit to Charleston. The combination of vast history, wonderful architecture, beautiful streets and public spaces, excellent shopping, and world class restaurants – all set to the beautiful backdrop of a bustling harbor – means there was not enough time to see and do everything there was to offer. The photos below represent some of the highlights, but are not in chronological order.

The carriage rides in downtown Charleston are pulled by horses and mules. Our excursion was pulled by two mules. This magnificent beast was on break near the stable area where we started our tour.

The carriage rides in downtown Charleston are pulled by horses and mules. Our excursion was pulled by two mules. This magnificent beast was on break near the stable area where we started our tour.

The mascot of the James Island County Park Campground is the owl. During Christmas, a world- class tour of lights is apparently showcased throughout the park. They said the owl stays illuminated all year round at the campground entrance.

The mascot of the James Island County Park Campground is the owl. During Christmas, a world- class tour of lights is apparently showcased throughout the park. They said the owl stays illuminated all year round at the campground entrance.

Historic homes on this waterfront edge of downtown Charleston are the reason rambling around town on foot is so much fun. The scenery is amazing.

Historic homes on this waterfront edge of downtown Charleston are the reason rambling around town on foot is so much fun. The scenery is amazing.

We joined the other tourists and took a carriage ride through the oldest parts of town.

We joined the other tourists and took a carriage ride through the oldest parts of town.

One of the many quaint bridges among the ponds at Magnolia Gardens Plantation.

One of the many quaint bridges among the ponds at Magnolia Gardens Plantation.

Drayton Hall Plantation on the Ashley River enjoyed seven generations of the Drayton family before it was sold to The National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Drayton Hall Plantation on the Ashley River enjoyed seven generations of the Drayton family before it was sold to The National Trust for Historic Preservation.

We were the last tour to Fort Sumter that afternoon. The tides were starting to change around the island as we boarded the ferry for the return trip across Charleston Harbor.

We were the last tour to Fort Sumter that afternoon. The tides were starting to change around the island as we boarded the ferry for the return trip across Charleston Harbor.

A section of the many miles of walking/biking paths at James Island County Park.

A section of the many miles of walking/biking paths at James Island County Park.

We slept comfortably in the Walmart parking lot before our drive to Charleston. I was glad it was a super center because I got to stock us up on groceries and supplies in between dinner and bedtime.

We slept comfortably in the Walmart parking lot before our drive to Charleston. I was glad it was a super center because I got to stock us up on groceries and supplies in between dinner and bedtime.

In Charleston Harbor on the way to Fort Sumter.

In Charleston Harbor on the way to Fort Sumter.

It was a beautiful day to take a 30-minute ferry ride across Charleston Harbor to Fort Sumter.

It was a beautiful day to take a 30-minute ferry ride across Charleston Harbor to Fort Sumter.

There was a yard animal section at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. This male peacock was putting on a serious show for a particular female. He didn't care at all that three humans were standing this close to him. A teenage deer was eating a camera case hanging from the shoulder of the woman next me when this picture was taken.

There was a yard animal section at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. This male peacock was putting on a serious show for a particular female. He didn’t care at all that three humans were standing this close to him. A teenage deer was eating a camera case hanging from the shoulder of the woman next me when this picture was taken.

It is easy to feel like you have slipped back into another time zone when visiting Charleston.

It is easy to feel like you have slipped back into another time zone when visiting Charleston.

The pineapple fountain at the Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston seemed so welcoming!

The pineapple fountain at the Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston seemed so welcoming!

Looking back across the boardwalk over the marsh to the walking trails at James Island County park.

Looking back across the boardwalk over the marsh to the walking trails at James Island County park.

From the fishing Pier at James Island County Park.

From the fishing Pier at James Island County Park.

Spring is coming, the flip flops are out of the closet!

Spring is coming, the flip flops are out of the closet!

The churches in Charleston are each uniquely distinctive.

The churches in Charleston are each uniquely distinctive.

Fort Sumter selfie.

Fort Sumter selfie.

The surf at Folly Beach.

The surf at Folly Beach.

The County Park section of Folly Beach.

The County Park section of Folly Beach.

I got tired of worrying about keeping my hair colored during this trip. Solution: find Serendipity Salon on Broad Street, and ask the owner/stylist to cut it all off to where the grown out dye and low lights it meet the grey.

I got tired of worrying about keeping my hair colored during this trip. Solution: find Serendipity Salon on Broad Street, and ask the owner/stylist to cut it all off to where the grown out dye and low lights it meet the grey.

Not much spacing between these ancient Charleston homes.

Not much spacing between these ancient Charleston homes.

A view from Charleston's famous Broad Street.

A view from Charleston’s famous Broad Street.

 

 

South Carolina Part I: Kinards

I hate to ‘monopolize the conversation’ here on our blog, so I’m letting Mike tell you about our first stop in the Palmetto State. I won’t mention I am very behind on our blog posts, and this is a super easy way to play catch-up. Isn’t it amazing that a man of so few words fell in love with a blabbermouth like me!

Magnolia RV Park & Campground

Mon 1/20    Moving day, but first to nearby RV repair shop near Loris, SC.  Dropped it off at 10:30.  Drove into Conway for lunch and then walked the dogs on a nice trail next to a river in downtown.  It was a public park area adjacent to a marina.  Got phone call from shop on possible fix for engine squeal but declined their offer to replace the serpentine belt which had just been replaced a few months ago.  And they would try to “trace” the roof leak, but would take 3-4 hours at 125 per hour…No Thanks!  Drove back and paid their ransom for doing nothing. Drove toward next park about 3:00.  Stopped at rest area on I-20 before Columbia, but sign said no overnight camping.  So we drove to next exit and parked at the always wonderful Pilot truck stop.  The sun was setting in our eyes as we gladly parked on the outer curb amongst the giants.  We were able to open one side of slides, walk the dogs, eat some soup and go to bed.  Listened and watched the rear view camera all night for wide-turning angry tired drivers to plow into our coach or toad.

Tues 1/21   Moving day part 2.  Weighed the house before leaving Pilot truck stop at ten.  Easy drive to Kinards, SC by noon.  Small park, but with dog run.  Unloaded and cleaned some.  Took nice showers. Warm day, but got windy with cold air blowing in. Prepared for low in the teens.  Had a couple martinis and ate Dina’s hash recipe, spicy and good.

Weds 1/22   Cold 19.  Up to 36 and wind lightened enough to work outside.  Started campfire about five, of course.  Came in to eat about eight.

Thurs 1/23  Cold 21 to begin, but above freezing before noon.  Drove west to Spartanburg for a couple rv supplies and ATM for cash.  Then drove into town to eat at DDD place called The Beacon Drive-In.  Just a dive with good greasy chow.  Headed back to park, but made a slight detour off the freeway to nearby town of Clinton for a liquor store and hardware store.  Took dogs, but forgot leashes.  Got back to our site and were lazy the rest of the day, then read and watched tv after dark as the temperature plummeted.

Fri 1/24    Coldest 11!   Stayed in, except to walk dogs.  Hi 31.  So far, no damage.  Read, worked inside, Dina wrote.  Dinner was crockpot beef tips in chimichurrie sauce.

Sat 1/25    Cold 24, with sw wind, but above freezing after noon.  Drove dogs to The Buncombe Horse Trail near the Brick House Campground in Sumter National Forest. Walked them an hour and collected some wood.  Came back and stayed in, read, watched tv.  Dina made mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean dish, salad, with the leftover beef tips…very messy, but good.

Sun 1/26    Finally stayed above freezing.  Cleaned under stove top, read, Dina planned future trips.  About three drove dogs to Sumter National Forest again.  Walked about an hour, saw group of three horses with riders, it is an equestrian trail.  Got back and relaxed with martinis about five and then campfire.  Followed by grilling sweet potatoes and steak.  Didn’t sleep well.

Mon 1/27    Nice and warm.  Drove dogs to Newberry.  Stopped for lunch of Tex-Mex (or so they called it).  Then to Lynch’s Woods Park Trails.  Hiked with dogs about an hour or three miles.  Then stopped at Walmart for supplies and groceries before driving back.  Napped and read till dinner of ravioli casserole.  Watched tv and read.

Tue 1/28    Just at or below freezing all day and breezy.  Talked to repair shop near Charlotte.  Put everything in from outside that will get wet by melting snow.  Snow started lightly about three until bedtime.  About two inches accumulated.  Cold with breeze.  Dina made chicken tetrazzini for dinner.

Weds 1/29   Snow!  About 2 inch accumulation.  And cold 18.  Dina had to take dogs out just after midnight.  Cessna wanted to eat the white ice.  They were taken to the dog park several times to play.  Sun came out for a couple of hours before noon, so some snow melted.  But it never got above freezing.  Stayed in and read and ate and planned our future travels.

Thurs 1/30   Cold 14.  Warmed enough to get outside.  Started campfire about four.  Grilled potatoes and sausage.

Fri 1/31    20 on the last day of our first year traveling.  Warmed to 50s.  Drove to Greenville and parked downtown.  Walked the dogs up Main st. looking for restaurants with chicken fried steak on the menu.  Almost all the nice pubs and upscale eateries had tables and chairs outside on the walk and allowed dogs.  So we found a great place and ordered drinks and then a nice late lunch and it warmed enough to take our coats off.  No one was sitting at the outside tables anywhere until we showed them that it was ok. People started showing up to enjoy the sunshine and many came by to pet our mongrels, even a group of preschool kids from 1st Baptist with their handlers.  They were taking a survey of folks about what they enjoyed and disliked about the area.  They moved along when our food came.  Afterward, walked back down Main to Falls Park and a pathway that lead along the Reedy River for miles.  We went as far as the zoo and back.  There were many other parks along the way and still more parks on the other side of Main that we didn’t see.  We made it back to the car a little after four and back to our site a little after five.  Everyone was sore and tired, but we worked our lunch off.  Then we built what may be our last campfire here because rain is forecast for the next several days, then retired around ten.

Sat 2/1     11th anniversary and first for our trip.  Cloudy and cool start. Drove to Columbia a little after noon.  Stopped to get supplies for Super Bowl watching party at the park’s rec room tomorrow.  Afterward, parked downtown which is next to USC campus.  Walked dogs around in light mist for a couple of hours.  Stopped at one sports pub for celebratory drinks.  Then got back to the car and made it to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for our 5:30 reservation (Dina’s choice), after stopping at a crazy busy liquor store.  Had a couple more celebratory martinis before the best steak I ever ate and sides.  Hefty bill, but worth it.  Drove back to site in the mist and in bed before eleven.

Sun 2/2     Nice and warm, mostly sunny.  Dogs stayed outside all day.  Did some chores and Dina prepared tamales, queso, and Hawaiian dip (from the last of our Virginia Ham) for party at six.  Walked over to room above office to eat, drink, and watch the game with other campers.  After game ended, walked the dogs and hit the sack.

Mon 2/3     Rained until noon, then warmed up and nice.  Walked dogs.  Built campfire about five thirty.   Went in to eat tamales shipped here on Saturday by Suzanne.  Not too many were eaten at game watching party last night.

Tues 2/4    Wet cold.  Hibernated.  Misty.  After seven, drove the few miles to Clinton to eat at Blue Ocean seafood restaurant.  Good fried specials and snow crab. Mist and rain. Read, tv and bed.

Wed 2/5     Rained some overnight, then cloudy till noon.  Them warmed to 65.  I went for groceries at Newberry, Dina stayed to clean.  Paid bills for February. Read, ate fish tacos from leftovers, and watched tv.

Thurs 2/6   Cool, some sun.  Drove to Dreher Island State Park on an island on Lake Murray.  I fished while Dina walked dogs.  Left about four-thirty.  Back at site and grilled chicken at six.  Ate and watched Olympics and read.

Fri 2/7     Cool, more sun.  After noon drove to Greenwood State Park on Lake Greenwood.  I fished with no luck and Dina hiked with dogs.  Left at five.  Built campfire and fried french fries and bacon outside for BLTCOA (bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, avocado) sandwiches.  Watched a little of opening ceremony at Olympics.

Sat 2/8     Cool start, then warmed enough to work outside.  Paid some bills while Dina went into town to run errands.  Cleaned some outside before sunset.  Ate SC BBQ and watched Olympics.  Then walked dogs and went to bed.  Watched more tv and read.

 

The grounds of the Magnolia RV Park & Campground after our first snow in the Monaco.

The grounds of the Magnolia RV Park & Campground after our first snow in the Monaco.

We spent a day at Dreher Island State Park, which is about 30 miles west of Columbia on Lake Murray. This giant fireplace is all that is left of the original Dreher Family estate, original owners of the 300+ acres before it was deeded to the State of South Carolina.

We spent a day at Dreher Island State Park, which is about 30 miles west of Columbia on Lake Murray. This giant fireplace is all that is left of the original Dreher Family estate, original owners of the 300+ acres before it was deeded to the State of South Carolina.

The view from our front door at Magnolia Campground when we awoke to a beautiful dusting of snow on the ground.

The view from our front door at Magnolia Campground when we awoke to a beautiful dusting of snow on the ground.

The Reedy River runs through the center of downtown Greenville. The large brick and glass building in the background is the Peace Center for the Performing Arts. They have an indoor auditorium and an outdoor amphitheater. The Center features a wide array of performances. Some of their upcoming bookings are The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Dance Theater of Harlem, Melissa Ethridge, and Flashdance - the Musical.

The Reedy River runs through the center of downtown Greenville. The large brick and glass building in the background is the Peace Center for the Performing Arts. They have an indoor auditorium and an outdoor amphitheater. The Center features a wide array of performances. Some of their upcoming bookings are The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Dance Theater of Harlem, Melissa Ethridge, and Flashdance – the Musical.

The Reedy River flowing out of downtown along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which is a 17.1 mile multi-use trail connecting neighborhoods, schools, parks and businesses throughout Greenville and the County.

The Reedy River flowing out of downtown along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which is a 17.1 mile multi-use trail connecting neighborhoods, schools, parks and businesses throughout Greenville and the County.

The Liberty Bridge is a pedestrian bridge in downtown Greenville that crosses over Reedy River Falls. This beautiful park is smack in the middle of downtown.

The Liberty Bridge is a pedestrian bridge in downtown Greenville that crosses over Reedy River Falls. This beautiful park is smack in the middle of downtown.

My fabulous step-sister, Suzanne Saxton, felt sorry for us because we did not have any tamales during the recent holiday season. The little angel sent us 3 dozen packed in a cooler with dry ice. It arrived on our anniversary, and was the best thing we have received since we have been on the road. I took some to the Superbowl party at the campground, but the other campers didn't really know what they were - so not too many got eaten. More for us!

My fabulous step-sister, Suzanne Saxton, felt sorry for us because we did not have any tamales during the recent holiday season. The little angel sent us 3 dozen packed in a cooler with dry ice. It arrived on our anniversary, and was the best thing we have received since we have been on the road. I took some to the Superbowl party at the campground, but the other campers didn’t really know what they were – so not too many got eaten. More for us!

South Carolinians claim their state is the birthplace of barbeque. They also say that REAL bbq is always and only pork. Finally, they think the sauce should be mustard based, and should be chased down with sweet tea. We sampled some from a famous hole-in-the-wall called Wise's (which is only open on Friday and Saturdays). It was good... tart and 'vinegary'. However, this Texan does not believe their claim to fame. BBQ can also be beef or chicken, in addition to pork. The sauce should be red and spicy, and it should be washed down with a cold beer. Just sayin'

South Carolinians claim their state is the birthplace of barbeque. They also say that REAL bbq is always and only pork. Finally, they think the sauce should be mustard based, and should be chased down with sweet tea. We sampled some from a famous hole-in-the-wall called Wise’s (which is only open on Friday and Saturdays). It was good… tart and ‘vinegary’. However, this Texan does not believe their claim to fame. BBQ can also be beef or chicken, in addition to pork. The sauce should be red and spicy, and it should be washed down with a cold beer. Just sayin’

One of the Villas at Dreher Island State Park. I peaked inside one of the windows. They looked nice and clean and roomy. It looks like a fun spot for a weekend of bass fishing or general fun-in-the-sun.

One of the Villas at Dreher Island State Park. I peaked inside one of the windows. They looked nice and clean and roomy. It looks like a fun spot for a weekend of bass fishing or general fun-in-the-sun.

We spent another sunny afternoon at Greenwood Lake State Park, located in Ninety-Six, South Carolina. Really, that is the name of the town!

We spent another sunny afternoon at Greenwood Lake State Park, located in Ninety-Six, South Carolina. Really, that is the name of the town!

The dogs had a dog park on this stop. LOTS of playtime.

The dogs had a dog park on this stop. LOTS of playtime.

Can you see these deer in the picture? They were hanging out at a picnic area in Dreher Island State Park. Didn't even flinch when we drove by - just waited for us to move on, so they could keep grazing.

Can you see these deer in the picture? They were hanging out at a picnic area in Dreher Island State Park. Didn’t even flinch when we drove by – just waited for us to move on, so they could keep grazing.

Most of the restaurants in downtown Greenville have sidewalk tables set up in front of their establishments. The whole atmosphere is very charming.

Most of the restaurants in downtown Greenville have sidewalk tables set up in front of their establishments. The whole atmosphere is very charming.

The dogs and I walked this trail through the woods every morning on their potty walk.

The dogs and I walked this trail through the woods every morning on their potty walk.